Thanks In All Things

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I have so many things to be thankful for – I wake up each morning in a warm house, in a beautiful little town, with my husband and daughter. I know how fortunate I am.

At the same time, it’s hard to give thanks right now. It’s hard for me to feel thankful in all things. Which, as a Christian, I’m called to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be thankful for the loss of a baby – or if that’s even what I’m supposed to strive for.

In the days before Pearl’s birth I remember reading the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 and being comforted by the fact that we worship a God who enters the furnace with us. We were saved from that furnace and given a healthy baby. The men in Daniel were also saved; although they were thrown to the fire, they were unharmed.

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire…They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Daniel 3: 26b, 27b

But what do you do when you are not saved from the fire?

I don’t think I’m expected to give thanks for the fire itself. I do believe that my God weeps with me. The Bible never ever chastises the mournful. Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11). In Exodus 23, the Promised Land is described as a place where none are barren and there is no miscarriage. Clearly we don’t live there yet. I find it comforting that God’s perfect plan doesn’t involve the loss of my baby. And I find it confusing that an omnipotent God allowed that loss.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

In Daniel, the men declare that they believe God will rescue them. But even if He doesn’t, they will not turn from Him. They are thrown into the fire and a fourth figure is seen in the furnace with them. That is the strange and confusing and beautiful part of our faith. We are not always saved from the fire but we are never alone in it.

I will not be burned up by this fire. I will not bow down to the gods of grief and loss. I am here right now but this is not my forever. Slowly, slowly, I will give thanks. God help me.

This weekend we skipped town for a couple of days with some very wonderful friends in Victoria. Pearl’s first trip to the place where Peter and I met and fell in love and spent the first year of our marriage.

Downtown Victoria Harbour

Downtown Victoria Harbour

We were fortunate enough to be able to fly by seaplane from Sechelt, which makes the trip so much faster. Pearl’s first time on a seaplane went very well, though she refused to wear the ear protection they provided for her.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

There was a lot we didn’t get to do in our quick trip but we did get to catch up with some of my favourite people, meet a new-ish baby, visit my old workplace/Canada’s largest bookstore, and walk a little through a lovely city.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Also, Pearl discovered she can put her hands in her pockets so please enjoy one of my favourite pictures ever:

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There is a lot to be thankful for.

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Spring Break 2016 – Kimberley

At the end of 2015, some good friends of ours moved from the Coast to the Kootenays. Peter and I decided to take the opportunity of Spring Break to go and visit them. Their littlest girl is just a few weeks younger than Pearl and it so happened that we got to be there for her first birthday. I loved being pregnant at the same time and I’m sad that we won’t be raising our girls in the same area but we’re hopeful that we can make them pen pals one day. (Do kids still have pen pals these days?)

We left home on Thursday afternoon and flew that evening from Vancouver to Cranbrook. This was Pearl’s first time on an airplane. The flight is only about an hour and a half so we knew that even if it was a horrible experience, it wouldn’t last too long. Thankfully, it was not a horrible experience.

Waiting to board in Vancouver.

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The plane was small – seats for about 20 passengers – but we were able to pre-board and claim the very rear where there was a bench for three. Pearl loved looking out the window and waving the safety pamphlet around. I had packed a special bag of toys and distractions for her that was moderately successful. It held: snacks (baby biscuits and cheerios because she likes them both and they’re not too messy), ribbons of various lengths and colours, a photo book filled with pictures of her and Bella the dog (her favourite things to look at), her favourite book of farm animals, Stripes the Tiger (who I had hidden a couple weeks before so that he would be more exciting), and a little doll that she usually gets excited about. Nothing held her attention for that long but it was good to have a variety of things to keep pulling out. Eventually, she just wanted to run up the aisle of the plane and so Peter and I passed her back and forth between us, trying to keep her somewhat still.

More than the plane, I was actually the most nervous about her sleep while we were away from home. After our rough experience in Whistler the previous weekend, I tried to prepare myself for the idea of a weekend without sleep. But Pearl did really, really well! (Cue angels singing!) Our friends put us up in their basement where we had space to ourselves and Pearl slept in a pack-and-play next to our bed. (Visiting friends with kids of similar age is awesome because they already had so much baby stuff for us to use!) I was nervous about being in the same room with Pearl but it turns out the key was a really dark room. Pearl doesn’t need total darkness to sleep at home but basically, when away from home, she needs to not notice that she’s in a strange place if she wakes up at night. While she didn’t sleep through the night while we were there, she did settle back to sleep easily when she woke and she even napped during the day.

We had a great time seeing their new home and life in Kimberley. On Friday we all headed out to the Fairmont Hot Springs to spend the morning. The setting is beautiful – surrounded by snowy mountains – and the warm pools were the perfect contrast to a crisp, clear, and cold day. Pearl loved it! She loves being outside and she loves the bath so this was a pretty perfect combination of the too.

She also loved the fries she got to try for the first time at lunch afterward. Oh, and prosciutto too. Turns out, she likes salt. And sugar, because she also tried ice cream for the first time and liked it a lot. (Cranbrook has a Dairy Queen and as soon as I found out, I requested that it be a stop on our visit.)

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We explored Kimberley a little bit, walked some trails near their house, and visited some stores and a pretty delicious bakery. But mostly we got to spend time with some people we like and that we miss. We were thankful for the opportunity to see them and thankful for their generous hosting.